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English Expressions


Phrases, idioms, Slangs, Proverbs

experience and ownership

in the possession of sb. / in one’s possession in possession of sth.

As no pumas had been reported missing from any zoo in the country, this one must have been in the possession of a private collector and somehow managed to escape.

The book is in my possession .
I’m in possession of the book.

The city at one time must have been/seen/known prosperous, for it enjoyed a high level of civilization.

  • enjoy good health
  • enjoy a high standard of living
  • The garments are magnificent and tasteful and have long enjoyed great fame both at home and abroad. 
  • They were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. 
  • She is endowed with both brains and beauty. 
  • Declarationof Independence
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • China boasts a lot of beautiful scenery. 
  • a mug with a broken handle


  • Like a scientist bent on making a discovery, he must cherish the hope that one day he will be amply rewarded. 
  • He cherished the memory of his late wife. 

be free from 

  • The composition is free from errors.
  • Organic produce is free from harmful chemicals. 

flea-ridden: fear-ridden, debt-ridden, crisis-ridden

-infested: shark-infested waters; rat-infested warehouses

  • a slum infested with crime


  • happen to do
  • it happens that …
  • chance to do 
  • it chances that …
  • by chance / by accident, accidentaly
  • as it happens, 
  • as luck would have it 


  • They stretch out their legs like flying squirrels.
  • Cats behave like well-trained paratroopers.
  • They never become submissive like dogs and horses. 
  • They never become as / so submissive as dogs and horses (do).
  • They never become submissive in the (same) way that dogs and horses do.
    We like them in the same way that we like pretty curtain material.
    Love me in the way that I love you.
  • I need the same tool as you are using. 
  • I need such a tool as you are using. 
  • I need as useful a tool as you are using. 
  • Such inns as there were were generally dirty and flea-ridden; the food simply local cheese accompanied by bread often twelve months old, all washed down with coarse wine.
  • Such negotiations as there have recently been, about the possibility of introducing a 35-hour working week, have highlighted some of the difficulties. 
  • it is so long that
  • So long is the bridge that the shape of the earth had to be taken into account by its designer. 
  • The length of the bridge is such that
  • Such is the length of the bridge that …
  • Such is human nature, that a great many people are often willing to sacrifice higher pay for the privilege of becoming white-collared workers. 
  • The conditions of society are such that skills have to be paid for in the same way that goods are paid for at a shop. 
  • They are rash enough to cross the pass on foot. 
  • They are so rash as to cross the pass on foot. 

句首肯定句: 限定整个主句

  • As has been said above, a magnet produces a magnetic field in the space around itself. 
  • As I expected, he did not believe me.
  • As has been said above, grammar is not a set of dead rules. 

否定句,并且, 句中/句尾,限定肯定的部分

  • In most solids, the molecules are not free to move about as they are in gases and liquids. 
  • Spiders are not insects, as many people think, 
  • She did not open the box, as her friends feared. 
  • She did not, as her friends feared, open the box. 


As no pumas had been reported missing from any zoo in the country, this one must have been in the possession of a private collector and somehow managed to escape.

must have done
You must have been ill yesterday.
must do
She knew that it must be the baker.
may / might have done
can not / could not have done
You can’t have been ill yesterday. I saw you going shopping with your wife.
The girl asked to see a timetable, feeling sure that her father could not have made such a mistake.
should / ought to have done
should not / ought not to have done

You should have finished your work yesterday. I shouldn’t have shouted at you yesterday.

The rope had been cut, so it was obvious that the lamb had been stolen. (clear / apparent) 

…, so clearly / obviously / apparently the lamb had been stolen.

Wherever it went, it left behind it a trail of dead deer and small animals like rabbits.

Whenever the Italian city-states were at war with each other, Hawkwood used to hire his men to princes who were often willing to pay the high price he demanded. 

疑问词 + ever (whenever, wherever, whoever, whichever, whatever …) 有两个含义:

=no matter+ 疑问词

No matter where it went, …
No matter where you live, you would find it difficult not to laugh at, say, Charlie Chaplin’s early films.

2.表示 “到底……” 用于疑问句中。
‘Whatever are you doing up here Bill?’ asked the vicar in surprise.
Wherever did you go yesterday?
Whenever am I going to see you again?
(A) These things take time to learn.
(B) Will you study anymore?
(C) Why do you keep on making the same mistakes?
(D) It will be a good learning experience for you.
When will you ever learn?
Answer: (C) Why do you keep on making the same mistakes?

whenever, wherever, whoever, whichever …
Wherever did you go yesterday?
When ever am I going to see you again?
on earth
What on earth has happened to trouble you so?
in the world
What in the world are you doing here at seven in the morning?
in God’s / heaven’s name
What in God’s name was that huge bang?
Where in heaven’s name have you been?
the hell
What the hell was that noise?
How the hell are we going to do that?

“疑问词+ever”表示“无论”时还可以用于名词性从句,此时 ≠“no matter+ 疑问词”, 因为后者只能用于让步状语从句。
Whoever wants to sign up for the course is welcome. √
No matter who wants to sign up for the course is welcome. X
No matter who wants to sign up for the course, he is welcome. √
Whatever project he works on is always successful.
No matter what project he works on, it is always successful.

spot / find / see / observe / identify / recognize as / catch sight of / catch glimpse of / glimpse

  • When reports came into London Zoo that a wild puma was spotted forty-five miles south of London, they were not taken seriously. 
  • The hunt began in a small village where a woman picking blackberries saw a large cat only five yards away from her. It immediately ran away when it saw her. 
  • Paw prints were seen in a number of places and puma furs were found clinging to bushes. 
  • The search proved to be difficult, for the puma was often observed in one place in the morning and at another place twenty miles away in the evening. 
  • In the torchlight, he caught sight of a figure who he immediately recognize as Bill Wilkins, our local grocer. 

admire / gaze at

I admire her courage.

I am admiring her beauty.
gaze at …
After gazing at the display for several minutes, Mr. Taylor went back into his shop.

gaze / stare / gape / glare at …

  • He gazed at the belle.
  • He stared at the belle.
  • He gaped at the belle. 
  • The belle glared at him. 

accumulate / amass / pile up / collect / gather / hoard

  • I accumulate a large vocabulary. 
  • As the evidence accumulate, experts from the zoo felt obliged to investigate for the descriptions given by people who claimed to have seen the puma were extraordinarily similar. 
  • People tend to amass possessions / a fortune.
  • My friend used to collect stamps. 
  • Shenzhen real estate developers hoard large amounts of land.

raise | rise | arise | arouse | 

  • raise one’s hand / voice
  • raise one’s hat to sb
  • raise one’s glass to sb
  • raise the roof
  • raise pigs
  • The sun also rises. — Ernest Hemingway
  • Problems arose.
  • arouse one’s pity / anger


  • smash the window
  • The glass smashed/shattered into small bits.
  • We’re determined to smash terrorism.
  • smash the Gang of Four
  • When I’m in your arms, nothing seems to matter. My whole world could shatter, I don’t care. — Phil Collins
  • shatter one’s dream / hope / confidence
  • seize

I’m going to have my hair cut this weekend.
… people would rather pay large sums of money than have their life work destroyed by gangsters.

King CharlesIhad his head cut off.
The house had its window broken in the explosion.

go on v. 发生(多用进行时表示正在发生的事)
What’s going on here?
happen occur
come up |  come about | take place
The funeral will take place on Monday.
Most people were fast asleep when the earthquake struck.
I objected to his advice and a heated argument ensued.
coincide (with …)
When I came, he was just about to leave.
My arrival coincided with his departure.

  • She suddenly realized that it must be the man from the Electricity Board who had come to read the meter. 
  • It occurred to / struck / downed on her that … 
  • But the first people who were like ourselves lived so long ago that even their sagas, if they had any, are forgotten. 
  • God’s reasons, if He has any, are opaque to us. 
  • There is every likelihood that the costs of the monitoring system, such as the purchase, maintenance and updates of software, employment of extra personnel in charge of it, will offset or even outweigh additional revenue, if there is any. 
  • His descendants, if any, never left the island. 
  • He is seldom, if ever, absent from work. 

Opinion, as it did/does in the case of … who …

  • Such is human nature, that a great many people are often willing to sacrifice higher pay for the privilege of become white-collar workers. This can give rise to curious situations, as it did in the case of Alfred Bloggs who worked as a dustman for the Ellesmere Corporation. 
  • Stress can give rise to mental diseases, as it did in the case of Mike Johnson who worked as an engineer for General Motors. 

Recently, a case concerns Jane Butlin whose fiance, John, runs a very successful furniture business. 

One case concerns an 11-year-old schoolgirl Vera Petrova, who has normal vision but who can also perceive things with different parts of her skin, and through solid walls. 

  • This is not the case at all. 
  • This is not always the case. 
  • This is indeed the case.
  • This is not necessarily the case.  
  • This might not be the case. 

on the other hand …;

on the one hand … on the other (hand) …

used to indicate contrasting points of view, opinions, etc

I’d like to eat out, but on the other hand I should be trying to save money.
On the one hand they’d love to have kids, but on the other (hand), they don’t want to give up their freedom.

The matter is worth consideration / considering. 

The matter is worthy of consideration / to be considered. 

worth: n. = value 

  • thousands of pounds worth of diamonds
  • fifty pence worth of trouble

It seems that the further cats fall, the less they are likely to injure themselves.

The further off the solid obstruction, the longer time will elapse for the return of the echo. 

– inverse order in the main sentence due to the fact it is long

The younger the child is, the more is the child’s need of sleep. 

be can be omitted. 

  • The younger the child, the more the child’s need of sleep.
  • The stronger the magnet, the greater the number of lines of magnetic force. 
  • The higher the standard of living (is), the greater (is) the amount of paper used. 
  • The greater the percentage of such customers (is) , the weaker (is) the argument’s evidence as an indication of customer satisfaction with the change. 

Main sentence is in the front. 

  • I play (the) better, the more I practice. 
  • The more I practice, the better I play. 
  • A compound is considered the more stable, the smaller its potential energy. 
  • We are so familiar with the fact that man ages, that people have for years assumed that the process of losing vigour over time, of becoming more likely to die the older we get, was something self-evident like the cooling of a hot kettle or the wearing-out of a pair of shoes.
  • A telescope would have to be as far away as the planet Jupiter to look for life in outer space, because the dust becomes thinner the further we travel towards the outer edges of our own solar system.

  1. 除了 。。。 句首, for  不能省; 句中,则可以
  2. 若没有。。。的话 = if it were not for + n. 

except for 

except (不用在句首),表同类排除

主句(整体描述) + except for / that (不同类排除/局部补充)

The essay is well written except for some misspellings (except that there are some misspellings). 

During all these tests Vera was blindfold, and indeed, except when blindfold she lacked the ability to perceive things with her skin.


  • That is where you and I differ. 
  • That is where I draw the line. 

Apparently, there is a good deal of truth in this idea.